One part easy. Three parts hard.

I spent most of Sunday in the kitchen, whizzing through dinner and laboring over dessert.

Good thing I started early and had plenty of time to spare. And good thing I had two extra pairs of hands. Without Kate’s help cleaning and Mr. Mom’s help wrangling homemade caramel, I might have thrown in the dishtowel.

The recipes were straight off the internet. And isn’t that the very best part of modern-day cooking — access to millions of wonderful dishes right at your fingertips? Thanks to Tasty Kitchen and Add a Pinch (via Pinterest), I found an easy-but-savory Mexican entrée and a luscious caramel cake in a quick menu search.

Sunday Supper Menu

Enchilada Casserole

Avocado Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Southern Caramel Cake

Since the entrée and the dessert are straight off other websites, I won’t bother retyping them here. Simply click here for the Enchilada Casserole and here for the Southern Caramel Cake.

The salad was my own concoction. I tossed a green salad with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil, and topped it with sliced avocados and tortilla strips. It was a perfect light-touch side dish for a hearty casserole.

My tablescape this week was soft and pretty, with a touch of longed-for spring. It was sunny and almost 50 degrees in our part of the world today, so I dug deep in my dish pantry to bring a burst of color to my table.  See what you think:

It’s amazing how a little sunshine and a pretty table can brighten a winter’s meal.

My favorite part of this table is the vintage tablecloth. I’ve collected them for years and — though most of mine are faded and almost threadbare in spots — I continue to use them frequently. The one I chose for this week is sweetly patterned in shades of yellow, pink and green.

My Southern Caramel Cake was the perfect accompaniment for such a sweet table. I had never made caramel before, nor had I ever used caramel as icing. Let’s just say both take patience.

Making caramel — getting the butter and milk and sugar mixture to the softball stage — takes more than a half hour of constant stirring and watching the pot. Then cooling the caramel by beating it to a stiff texture takes nearly another half hour. Finally, spreading the stiff caramel — which molds better than it spreads — required my last vestiges of patience. In all, I probably had three hours invested in this cake, and it wasn’t even all that beautiful as cakes go.

But as cakes taste . . . this one is great. The cake is tender and moist and the icing is sweet and caramely.

If I had it to do over again, I would have cut two of my cakes in half-layers and frozen the third cake for another use on another day. I think four thin layers alternated with the sweet caramel icing would give the cake a little more punch than three thick layers. And I would have put layers of chopped peanuts on each icing layer, not just on top, to give it even more texture and interest.

By the way, my salad was wonderful. Take a look:

And the casserole was tasty and filling.

Chock full of veggies and light on cheese and sauce, it was a healthy alternative to heavy enchiladas.

Hope you had a lovely Sunday Supper, dear readers, that was all parts easy and tasty.

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